The other day I went to Marshall's to kill some time while my husband was in a church meeting. As I approached the entrance, a young man showed me a Marshall's gift card and explained it had $61 on it but he was trying to sell it for $40. I did not have cash and quickly walked by. He did not appear to be the type of young man you would normally find in upscale Frisco.
I got no further than shoes when I clearly heard the Lord say, "Go back." So I moved on to luggage. Again, I heard God say, "Go back." It was such a strong and forceful command, I could not ignore it. I went back to the young man who now had a young woman nearby with 2 dogs. All my safety senses were alert. A million things ran through my mind like: Hold your purse tight, Don't get between them, Keep a safe distance, Stay alert to my surroundings.
So I spoke to the young man and explained I really did not have any cash. But I would go get cash if he would go into the store and get a receipt for the card balance. And then he showed me he already had one. It said $61.67. I asked them where they were from and why did they need the cash. The man replied they were from California and in Dallas hoping for a chance to work. Their appearance told me more but I tried not to jump to conclusions. So I left them there and drove to the bank to withdraw cash. On the way I passed an In N Out Burger and remembered they were from California. I stopped to get a gift card so they could eat.
At the bank as I keyed in $40, I clearly heard God say, "Don't steal from them." This time I didn't hesitate and keyed in $60. I rolled the money up and tucked it in with the food gift card. And promptly drove back to the couple who was still standing in front of Marshall's. I left my purse in the car so it would not be a distraction for me and prayed for wisdom as I approached the young couple.
When I reached them I saw my own children. I looked into each of their eyes and I saw so much hurt, rejection, and mistrust. My heart ached. I wondered if they ever felt secure or loved. So I asked them if they had parents who were looking for them. They said no. The girl's parents were in Florida and she talked to them every once in a awhile. The boy indicated his parents gave up on him a long time ago. I asked them some other questions and learned more about them. They were 28 and 32.....nearly the exact age of my oldest children. I asked if I buy your gift card how will you use it. He said for a hotel room. I asked if they had drug problem. The girl said, "No." And then she extended her arms and said with excitement, "Look, I'm clean." The boy said, "Yes, we both have drug problems. But we've been sober for 18 months." I looked him straight in the eye.
As I looked at him I said, "People have made a mess of church. But I know God. He's my Father. He's my Daddy. He watches out for me. So if you're scamming me, it doesn't matter. My Daddy watches out for me." Then I told them both that God wanted to be their Daddy too. I said, "I'm not talking about cleaning yourself up to go to church. I'm talking about just talking to God. See how much he loves you and let him be your Daddy." We talked some more. I finally had the right opportunity to say, "So, tell me about that teardrop tattoo."
I could tell he swallowed hard and said, "I have a past." I looked him dead square in the face and I said with great conviction, "I have a past too." And then I told him that God gave me a future and He has one for you too. I said, "I suspect that people don't often trust you. But I want you to know that I trust you. I believe each of you have value and deserve my love. So here's the deal. I have money rolled up and you don't know how much it is. It could only be a few bucks and not the $40 that we agreed upon. But the same is true for your gift card. It could have money on it or not. But I'm going to trust you. Do you trust me?" He nodded his head. I said, "Good. Then we have a deal. But first, will you let me pray for you?"
Surprisingly, they said yes and held out their hands for me to hold. I'm really not sure what I prayed but I am confident God was in the midst of it. I gave them the In N Out gift card along with $61. I took the Marshall's gift card in return. I told them where to find my church if they ever needed anything. And left them with this final remark. "Never forget that God loves you with an unimaginable love. There is no place that you can go that God's love does not go with you. And there is nothing that you will do to cause God to stop loving you. So don't ever forget that." And I hugged them both and walked away. I cried. They could have been my kids. They were somebody's kids. And my heart ached for their mom and the broken relationship that lead to their circumstances.
As I drove to the church to meet up with my husband I asked God what was that all about? And as clearly as I heard the command to "Go back," I heard God whisper, "See." That's all. Just "See." And I believe that if we open our eyes to see, then He will give us direction to do. It's time to see. So let's open our eyes.